Community Service

Where the Idea of the Old West Lives On

Text by Colter Pedersen | Photography by Steve Wolff

The road north to Dupuyer cleaves the surrounding territory in two. With soaring summits to one side and endless plains to the other, you watch the stark landscape climb from tumbleweeds to towering peaks.

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Trattoria Bella Roma

Char and Charm, A Rich History Flirting with Modernity

Text by Colter Pederse | Photography by Jacqui Smith

Born and raised in Rome Italy, head chef Davide Giuliani has always been passionate about food. “I’ve been watching my grandma cook since I was a kid in the kitchen. Sort of grandma’s recipes with a twist, that’s what I’m trying to do here,” he says.

Beyond Last Chance Gulch, just past the oldest alley in Helena, lies a little restaurant offering Mediterranean flavors infused with a modern flair. Open only since June, Trattoria Bella Roma brings a distinctly Old World menu to Montana.

“My food style is Roman cuisine. It’s very rustic, warm comfort food,” begins chef Davide Giuliani. Born and raised in Rome, he radiates an easy Italian charm and a youthful energy.

“I’m trying to recreate those flavors that I grew up with from cooking and learning from my grandma and putting my own twist on it, my own heart and soul in it,” he adds. “I want people to really experience what it was like growing up with that kind of food.”

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A Family Affair

Stepping back in time along the hi-line

Text by Colter Pedersen | Photography by Mary Kaercher

They say Havre has it, but what exactly that is, seems open to interpretation. Once upon a time it might have been the resting point on the rail line halfway between Minneapolis and Seattle. Nowadays it might just be a meeting place for local farmers and ranchers. But if people are going to meet, they’re going to want to eat. And no one’s been feeding people along the Hi-Line longer than Andy’s Supper Club.

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Low & Slow

Bringing a bit of the south out west at Bad Betty’s Barbecue

“If loving lard is wrong, I don’t want to be right,” reads the sign on the counter, a not so subtle indicator that at Bad Betty’s Barbecue flavor comes first.

Fiercely regional and deeply debated, for true devotees, barbecue is practically a way of life. One built around community and tradition, elevating the lowest meats to the highest levels of flavor through time-tested techniques. It’s edible alchemy, transforming the toughest cuts into the tastiest, the most tender.

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Batter Matters

Conquering Expectations One Crepe at a Time

Text by Colter Pedersen | Photography by Jacqui Smith

“I never wanted to open a restaurant,” begins Kayt Bonahoom. Which is funny, since she just opened her second location. “I am not a cook by any means,” she continues, “But I’m a researcher. Cooking is following instructions, if you can follow instructions you’re fine.” Kayt comes across as a problem solver, her tone casual and confident. When she speaks, the twinkle in her eye belies her lack of any formal culinary training.

Three years ago she was a seamstress, selling clothing alongside her husband Josh’s artwork at the farmer’s market. Today she’s running a mini empire with two mobile food operations, two permanent locations and a catering enterprise on the side.

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Smaller Plates, Bigger Flavors

Text by Colter Pedersen  |  Photography by Jacqui Smith

Taking on Tapas in a Steak and Potato Town

Black and white pictures, neon signs, a King Kong poster just past a wooden horse, walking through the front door of Bert & Ernie’s presents a kitschy, eclectic combination of keepsakes and Helena history, 40 years in the making.

Then a quick look to the left delivers a different take entirely, upscale, refined, ringed in glassware and borderline bougie. That’s the original wine bar, opened 11 years ago, and the gateway to the restaurant’s deeper dichotomy, two fully functioning operations offering distinctly different, yet completely complementary experiences, all under one roof.

Both recently renovated, each creates its own ambiance, with familiar family fare (pizza, burgers, beer) on one side and a decidedly more experimental menu on the other.

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